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April 2019
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Motel 6 To Pay Out Another $12 Million For Handing Guest Info To ICE

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A handful of Motel 6 owners and operators suddenly decided the best use of their guest info was as fodder for law enforcement agencies. In Connecticut, a Motel 6 just decided to start faxing its guest list over to the local cop shop every night. After this questionable practice was made public, the PD announced it never asked for this info and was going to route it right into the shredder going forward.Other Motel 6 owners decided ICE needed to know about every suspected illegal immigrant being housed overnight at their franchises. Using a highly-technical process that narrowed forwarded guest lists to those with foreign-sounding surnames, Motel 6 owners sicced ICE on paying customers in an effort to… I don't know… earn good citizenship awards or something.It may have netted ICE a few busts and warmed the cockles of meathead managers who had discovered a way to increase occupancy turnover rates with the federal government's help, but it also netted Motel 6 a handful of lawsuits.Last November, Motel 6 agreed to pay a $7.6 million settlement for sending guest lists to ICE offices in Arizona. NPR reports the chain is now about $20 million lighter, thanks to a similar settlement being reached in Washington.

The hotel chain Motel 6 has agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the state of Washington after several locations gave information on thousands of guests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement without warrants.Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday that Motel 6 shared the information of about 80,000 guests in the state from 2015 to 2017.
The chain also swore [PDF] it would never allow its franchisees and operators to deputize themselves as Lil' ICE Helpers, and would tell them to keep their guest lists to themselves.
Defendants shall maintain a policy ("The Policy") that they will not share 24 guest information with law enforcement, including ICE agents, without a judicially enforceable warrant or subpoena, except where there is a credible reason to believe that a guest, employee, or other individual is in imminent danger.[...]Defendants will train and require their employees not to provide guest information in response to any request, warrant, or subpoena from law enforcement, including DHS/ICE agents, without first obtaining authorization and directions from Defendants' legal department or other trained individual(s) designated by Defendants.
$10 million of the settlement will be going directly to Motel 6 guests whose information was given to ICE, whether or not they actually had to suffer through any interactions with the overzealous agency. Hopefully, the substantial settlements will encourage Motel 6 to keep better tabs on the activities of its site operators -- some of which apparently believe they're operating ICE honeypots rather than short-term housing for travelers.

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Are You Maximizing Your Company's Marketing Data?

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Society's digital transformation along with near-constant technological advances have brought more new marketing platforms, strategies and data points to the table than ever before. A couple of decades ago, marketers were putting all of their efforts into TV, print and out-of-home advertising. Fast forward to today, and they're spreading more of their budgets across web […]The post Are You Maximizing Your Company's Marketing Data? appeared first on Adotas.

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Take-Two Dismisses Its Lawsuit Against Pinkerton Agency As The Latter Runs From Its Own Cease And Desist

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At the very start of the year, we discussed a lawsuit filed by Take-Two Interactive against the Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations agency over content within the hit game Red Dead Redemption 2. Take-Two filed the suit seeking a declaratory judgement that its depiction of Pinkerton agents within the game was fair use, as Pinkerton had fired off a cease and desist notice to the game developer declaring that the game was violating its trademark rights and demanded either a lump sum payment or royalties as a result. Pinkerton, which most gamers will not know is a real-life union-busting, outlaw-getting agency that has existed since the west was still wild, probably thought Take-Two would pay it to go away. After all, the arguments for fair use and the First Amendment are quite clear when a work of fiction portrays a parody-take on an historically accurate and quite infamous agency of the wild west.We said at the time that it was hard to see how a ruling by the court in favor of Pinkerton would do anything other than force artists to license history, which is about as clearly antithetical to First Amendment law as could be imagined. It seems that Pinkerton's lawyers agreed, as Take-Two announced it has dropped its suit as Pinkerton has agreed to withdraw its demands.

Take-Two and its subsidiary Rockstar filed the suit in January, striking back at a cease-and-desist notice from Pinkerton, which argued Red Dead Redemption 2 had infringed on its trademark. The publisher wanted a court to rule that its use of the Pinkerton name — as part of a game that emphasizes historical accuracy — was fair use. But GameDaily.biz notes that the suit was dropped today, apparently ending the dispute.“Take-Two can confirm that the present-day Pinkerton Consulting and Investigation company has withdrawn its claims against Red Dead Redemption 2, and Take-Two will not continue legal action against Pinkerton. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a work of fiction set in the late 1800s that references historical entities active during that time,” a spokesperson for Take-Two told The Verge.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of all of this is that it took four months to get here. Any sober look at the claims by both parties in court would have resulted in a win by Take-Two. What's the alternative? Movie makers paying the Abraham Lincoln estate to make Lincoln? The White Sox demanding a license over the portrayal of the franchise in Eight Men Out? That isn't how art is supposed to interact with history.As always, despite the happy ending to this specific case, the real enemy in all of this is the pervasive culture of ownership that causes the Pinkertons of the world to think they can control speech and content.

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